The Slide Fire Story:
A Photographic Tribute to Oak Creek Canyon
Sedona AZ (July 8, 2014) – The Slide Fire has been extinguished and the air in Oak Creek Canyon and the surrounding communities is clear again. But for over two weeks in late May and early June fire crews battled day and night to contain the blaze, minimize the damage to the Coconino National Forest and lessen the potential after-effects. Before the last flame was even extinguished the Rotary Clubs of Sedona were working on a photographic exhibit to honor the firefighters and support the post-fire recovery efforts.
The Clubs believed that the community needed to have an opportunity to celebrate the work of the firefighters and come to terms with risks underscored by the largest fire in the history of the Coconino National Forest.
The Rotary Clubs’ exhibition of 100 photographs titled, The Slide Fire Story: A Tribute to Oak Creek Canyon will tell the story of the fire’s dramatic race up the canyon, the strategies, technologies and the hard work of over 1200 firefighters employed to control it’s fury. The exhibit will also give the community and visitors a chance to reflect on the treasure that the Canyon represents to Sedona and Northern Arizona.
The Sedona Arts Center exhibit will be open to the public from Saturday, July 12 through Sunday, July 20 between the hours of 11:00 and 6:00 daily. The event is free, but donations will be accepted to support firefighter training and to help respond to the aftermath of the Slide Fire. All of the proceeds from the event will be divided between the Arizona Wildfire and Incident Management Academy and the Slide Fire Disaster Response Fund which was established and seeded by the Arizona Community Foundation.
Members of the Sedona Rotary Clubs have funded and coordinated the event with help from concerned citizen-volunteers and sponsors. A number of local companies, including Wells Fargo and El Rincon have stepped forward as major sponsors for the event. Webers IGA and Pink Jeeps have also backed the exhibition. The Clubs continue to seek additional sponsors.
Lynette Jennings is serving as the Artistic Director for the exhibition. Jennings, a highly regarded artist, is best known for her eighteen years with her own design and art show on the Discovery Channel and her regular appearances on iconic television including “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America.” After Jennings saw the images that had been submitted to The Slide Fire Story, she said that she was “taken aback by their impact. Once I saw them and talked with Sedona Fire District Chief, Kris Kazian, the incredible story of the firefight and the significance to our community just came together. My immediate reaction was that everyone needs to see these images and appreciate the importance of protecting the Canyon.”
David Simmer, President of the Rotary Club of Sedona and the Sedona Arts Center has been coordinating the submissions of photography. “Photographers from several states, some of whom just happened to be here, and residents alike have generously offered their dramatic images for this exhibition. Many of the images have never been seen, and certainly not coordinated in an exhibition designed to tell the full story of this tragic fire. The Red Rock News was also a generous contributor of images. Almost everyone who I contacted or who saw our press releases has been excited to help us raise funds for the two beneficiaries of the event.”
Over 500 images were submitted from over 60 different photographers. The collection included images from before, during and after the fire and show the perspective from the fire-line and the forest, from hot air balloons, planes and gliders, from vistas of two communities most impacted by the fire – Flagstaff and Sedona – and even one elegant image from Jerome of the smoke-filled Verde Valley.
Nick Hastings, newly elected President of the Red Rocks Club reflected on the value of collaborating on the event with the Rotary Club of Sedona. “The two Clubs have worked together on smaller projects before, but this has been a significant undertaking. We wanted the exhibit to be timely, so all the planning and execution has been on fast forward. We have had less than six weeks to pull it all together. It’s been a terrific team effort. The best thing is that this will not only be an opportunity for people to learn about the impact and challenge these fires present, but an opportunity to honor our firefighters and create resources that will help mitigate the long-term impact.”
If the Steering Committee has its way The Slide Fire Story will find its way to Flagstaff, Phoenix and other southwestern communities. Oak Creek Canyon is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in Arizona and is a breathtaking link between Flagstaff and Sedona. We think that everyone in Flagstaff has an undeniable interest in what happened as well. After all, the greatest risk outside the Canyon was to neighborhoods in Flag.”
For more information, contact David Simmer at 928-284-4444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.